The Embarcadero Salitre is one of the oldest, most discreet, and smallest of Xochimilco boat launches. This one opened in 1921. It’s said to have been opened at the order of President Álvaro Obregón himself. It’s named for a small saltpeter factory that used to stand near the present-day launch site.
At home in the San Cristobal neighborhood, it follows a Traditional Canal Route, (that’s as opposed to the newer Ecological Canal Routes). Almost uniquely, this boat launch also operates as something of a bus-stop for local people taking “collectivo” boats to various points within the canal system.
For that, you can start at Embarcadero Salitre for a somewhat different trip into the world of Xochimilco. There are also some much smaller trajineras (canal boats), and lanchas (simple unadorned canal boats) available from here. About 51 boats set out from Salitre.
Like the Embarcaderos of Belem and Belem de las Flores, the Embarcadero Salitre is announced with a big arch on the right side of Calle Violeta. In this case, it’s in the Barrio Santa Crucita. The arch is just past the charming little Santa Crucita Chapel, and the boat launch is just a little further.
While there are some services available land-side, and limited parking, it’s not a particularly heavily-trafficked launch site. For couples and smaller parties, it’s ideal. They’ll also change the name of your trajinera, sometimes for free, though not with flowers.
Like all the boat launches, the prices and the rules are strictly regulated. But one can easily book a trip of one to three or even four hours, and enjoy every moment. If you’re especially hungry, mention it to your trajinero (boatman) before setting off. They nearly always have a good idea of who is selling food out on the canals on a given day.